— Sasha Frere-Jones on Beyonce as the Alpha-Female Pop Star
8 a.m. - Write upbeat tweets.
9 a.m. - Have a tough talk.
10 a.m. - Do cognitive work.
2 p.m. - Take a nap.
4 p.m. - Do physical work.
5 p.m. - Workout.
9 p.m. - Think creatively.
This piece is so on point that it’s scary. VICE magazine works for me just as often as it doesn’t, but pieces like this—that sort of just draw the box of an idea and ask you to color in the thoughts and points and perspectives—always resonate.
Today marks the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, which is slightly less significant than than the tenth anniversary, but still significant in a “holy-shit-it’s-been-thismany-years” kind of way—which is often the only way I really grapple with 9/11 as an event. It’s so clear to me just how much of my youth, my life, my political consciousness, has been shaped by September 11: it often seems that every shade of culture I choose to color my life with has either been radically reformed by or is a direct response to that singular event.
As a longform junkie, it should come as no surprise that I think it’s narrative non-ficiton that has best captured the meaning and weight of that day. And although so much of the current political landscape has been largely defined by 9/11, the most haunting, all-consuming bits exist on a far smaller scale. Crumbled pieces of paper; emotionally distant husbands; the nameless star of a photograph. Those stories are the ones worth telling; the ethics worth questioning. Those stories are the ones worth grappling with.
One of the most recent pieces circulating involves a note dropped from the 84th floor of the second tower, and the way it alters a family’s entire narrative when it finally reaches them ten years later. Another highlights the intersection of 9/11 and money, and who exactly is profiting most from the disaster.
Scott Raab has been chronicling the rebuilding process of the World Trade Center since plans went underway in 2005, all of which are worth reading. But it’s his seventh piece, published on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, that really captures the tangible metaphor of the noise, the second-starts and the grief that comes with the opening of the memorial.
Possibly my favorite of the bunch is the New York Times Sunday Magazine feature that untangles the complex affairs of two 9/11 widows: one whose husband was lost in the towers, and the other whose husband might as well have been.
And perhaps the most famous and fascinating of any 9/11 piece published anywhere: Tom Junod’s feature for Esquire, “The Falling Man,” which dissects and discusses the subjective and contextual limitiations of what’s been called “perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”
Also: for more of Jason E. Powell’s briliant 9/11 remembrance photography (above), click here.
—Li’l Thinks, Kate Carraway
— My column on the Instagram/Facebook merge, and the meaning of a simple app and it’s $1 billion profit.
There are other magazines that subordinate the writer’s individual voice to an institutional voice—the New Yorker, for starters—but it’s strange for a rock magazine to do so, and even the New Yorker occasionally lets writers sound like themselves.
Pitchfork couldn’t develop intelligence on the individual level because the site’s success depended largely on its function as a kind of opinion barometer: a steady, reliable, unsurprising accretion of taste judgments."
n+1’s amazing feature by Richard Beck, “5.4”, taking down Pitchfork, and citing how its most problematic tendencies are emblematic of the current state of indie rock.
The feature’s tone reminds of that Adbuster’s piece by Douglas Haddow, about Hipsters being the dead end of western civilization (I think it was called “Hipsters: The Dead End of Western Civilization”). It has that same sarcastically dry tone, where it ends up sounding more like a dense oral history. Also, mad rare to get an entire n+1 feature online. A damn treat!
an interview w: Tao Lin for BOOM magazine’s BOOMBLOG.